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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Wednesday responded to allegations by Akbar Sher Babar and accused him of trying to pressurise the scrutiny committee and disrupt the proceedings of foreign funding case.

“During the proceedings of foreign funding case, the petitioner and his consul repeatedly tried to disrupt the official business and tried to pressure the scrutiny committee. The scrutiny committee assured the petitioner that it would submit its observations and recommendations to the ECP without accepting any pressure. The committee also made it clear that it would not bow down to pressure from those respondents in the case,” the ECP said in a statement.

“The petitioner said he did not have confidence in the committee due to which the committee had to end its meeting,” the statement added.

The scrutiny committee would submit its recommendations to the ECP on merit keeping in view all the related facts in the case, the ECP said.

Meanwhile, in a separate instance, Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja Wednesday said that the ECP would “not bow down to pressure” and it would take action against any lawmaker found guilty of any kind of misconduct regardless of his/her political clout as the ECP gave Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda ‘final deadline’ to furnish reply in dual-nationality case by the coming February 9.

“Just because any lawmaker is influential does not mean they would be allowed to go scot-free,” the CEC said while heading five-member ECP bench hearing Vawda’s dual-nationality case.

During the proceedings, Qadir Mandokhel, the petitioner, requested the bench to summon the returning officer (RO) of Faisal Vawda’s constituency in the 2018 general elections, saying the RO misrepresented the facts regarding Vawda’s dual-nationality.

Vawda’s consul questioned the jurisdiction of ECP to hear the case on the grounds that a similar case was already pending before Islamabad High Court (IHC).

The CEC asked Vawda’s consul whether the federal minister was a dual-national when he submitted his nomination papers for 2018 general polls. The consul replied in negative claiming that Vawda had relinquished his United States nationality at the time of filing nomination papers for general elections held on July 25, 2018. The CEC then asked when Vawda relinquished his American nationality. “I will get the exact date confirmed and get back to you,” the consul replied.

“Then what are you doing here?” asked ECP member from Punjab Justice ® Altaf Ibrahim Qureshi. “We have to bear the criticism because of you people,” he said.

The CEC then remarked that ECP would not bow down to any pressure and any legislator found guilty of foul play on any pretext will be held accountable.

The commission gave Vawda final deadline to furnish his reply not later than coming February 9 before the case hearing was adjourned.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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